Alternative shooters offered

| 30/07/2014

(CNS): Brian Borden’s defence against the charge that he and Keith Montaque shot and killed Robert Bush on 13 September 2011 has two main strands, as outlined in Grand Court Tuesday by Trevor Burke, QC, in his closing statement: firstly that an equally credible, or even better, case could be made for the shooters being Jordan Manderson and David Ebanks, and secondly that Marlon Dillon, the key witness for the prosecution, is not credible. Pointing to a number of statements that Dillon gave to the police that were later proved to be completely false, and the fact that he may be trying to curry favour with the court as he awaits sentencing for his part in two armed robberies, Burke called him a “tainted witness” and a “skilled and manipulative liar”.

Building the case against Manderson and Ebanks as alternative candidates for the murder, Borden’s lead defence lawyer referred to the testimony of Mayra Ebanks, who was in the passenger seat of the car in which Bush was murdered. According to her evidence, Manderson had told her that members of the Birch Tree Hill Gang wanted to kill Bush, her boyfriend, but had reassured her that they would have to get the weapons from him. So by this admission, the defence argued, Manderson claimed to be the armourer for the gang, and so would have access to the weapons that were used against Bush, and also highlighted the fact that that there were a number of people who wanted Bush dead.

Also from Mayra Ebanks’ evidence: the night before the shooting when Bush, who was associated with the Logwoods Gang, had picked her up from the junction of Capts Joe and Osbert Rd and Birch Tree Hill Rd in West Bay, he had driven into the nearby yard of Tishara Webster to get some Rizla papers and had had a confrontation with Manderson, a member of the rival gang. By doing so, Burke suggested, Bush had disrespected Manderson in front of his friends, especially as he had a romantic affection for Mayra. She had told the court that Manderson had “come on to her” severaltimes but she had told him that he was too young for her.

Manderson and David Ebanks knew that Bush was on his way topick up Mayra on the night of the murder through a series of BBMs. The crown’s case is that they passed this information onto Borden, who used it to kill Bush. However, Burke noted that while Manderson and Ebanks passed Mayra as she waited for Bush to pick her up in the usual spot just minutes before he was killed, there is no evidence that puts Borden right at the scene of the murder. In fact, he argued, cell phone communication between them would indicate that he was somewhere else.

Conceding that the cell site and phone evidence blew holes in Borden’s alibi that he was at home with his girlfriend (now his wife) at the time of the murder, Burke said all that proved was that he was somewhere in West Bay, not that he was at the junction where the murder took place.

In addition, Burke noted that in the immediate aftermath of the murder, Mayra Ebanks' first reaction was to say that the two shooters had come out of Tishara Webster’s yard, where the defence’s two alternative suspects had gone to a few minutes beforehand. However, when people came running to the scene after the shooting, Manderson and Ebanks were not among them, he said.

Burke pointed to the similarity in the descriptions of the clothing Manderson and Ebanks were wearing that night to those of the shooters’ clothing, both of which were given by Mayra – though, as the crown noted, she also pointed to a few significant differences. These items of clothing had later been found hidden in a white bag in the loft space of David Ebanks’ grandmother’s house, Burke said.

David Ebanks had also been found with shotgun cartridges in his trouser pocket that had been processed by the same firearm that killed Bush, Burke noted.

All these facts raise a clear prima facie case against Manderson and Ebanks, the defence told the court.

Turning to the evidence of Marlon Dillon, Burke said he had two motives to lie about Borden’s supposed confession to him that he had killed Bush. Firstly, to ingratiate himself in court before his sentencing for his part in the CNB and WestStar armed robberies. While his testimony in those two trials, which had helped to convict the other robbers, had already resulted in as much reduction in his sentence as he was likely to get, Burke noted that, having implicated Borden, if he had not given evidence it would have gone against him.

The second reason for Dillon to lie was that, as he had told police in a statement on 10 July 2012, just after his arrest for robbery, he was particularly fearful of David Tomasa, whose case in the Bush murder trial was dismissed Monday but who is serving 14 years for the CNB and WestStar robberies. Dillon had told police that if Tomasa put the word out for his wife to be murdered, then Brian Borden would be the one to do it. Following Dillon’s statement to the police two days later accusing Borden of murder, he had been remanded in custody, removing him off the streets, so he could not hurt Dillon’s wife.

Burke pointed to “the merry dance” that Dillon had led police in a series of statements regarding both robberies, including the elaborate story he had concocted when first arrested on the day of the CNB robbery that he had been kidnapped by the robbers, stripped down to his underwear and locked in the trunk of his own car.

Initially he had told police that his role in the WestStar robbery had been as a getaway driver, for which he had received just $400, which was disproved by CCTV evidence. In anticipation of being confronted with the truth, he had even accused the police officers of fabricating what he had said.

“There is no doubt that he is a vile criminal,” Burke said.

Dillon’s testimony that on the day of the confession about the murder Brian Borden had been droppedoff at Tomasa’s house by Renaldo “Naldo” Sanchez had been sharply contradicted by Sanchez’ own testimonythat he did not know Tomasa at all and had never been to his house. If Sanchez is to be believed, it completely undermines Dillon’s credibility, Burke said.

However, Andrew Radcliffe, QC, the lead prosecutor, said that when Dillon had implicated Borden, he could not possibly have known that it would be supported by other evidence, which gave credence to his testimony.

Radcliffe said that the supporting evidence – from Tracy Watler, from Mayra Ebanks, from an eye-witness that places him near the scene of the crime about an hour after the murder, as well as the cell site evidence given by an RCIPS expert witness – was all completely independent and was consistent with Dillon’s testimony.

He said that unless a series of unrelated witnesses either told lies about Borden or were wrong, it was “an extraordinary coincidence” that their evidence supported Dillon’s testimony.

The evidence exists that Marlon Dillon is an accurate, honest and reliable witness, Radcliffe submitted.

The case is being heard in a judge-alone trial before Justice Alex Henderson.

Read related stores  on CNS:

WB shooting trial begins

Borden obsessed, witness says

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'No case' against Tomasa

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